Thursday, April 30, 2009

40th Surprise Birthday Party

Bill planned a surprise birthday party for my 40th and was able to pull it off with a little help from our friends. He lured me out of the house for our weekly Saturday night dinner and then faked a work-related call so he could head home to set things up while I had dinner with our Saturday Night Crew. When I arrived I was a little suspicious that our lights were dim and the door was unlocked but as soon as I opened the door and heard "SURPRISE!" I was distracted by all the fun people in my home.

Melanie Bales made this wonderful cake that tasted out of this world!! I am blessed by friends who brought cakes, decorated the house with balloons and hung out waiting for my late arrival.

In addition to the wonderful company I recieved some great gifts. I love this card as I have always wanted a life-size greeting card and the Bales Boys delivered!!!! I received several pieces of jewelry, a candle and a hand-made basket. I had already received several other items as well that have been posted during my "Turning Forty" series.

I love all my gifts but the gift of friendship is my favorite. Dasha, in the middle, is a new friend of mine who left her sick husband at home and, not knowing anyone in my circle of friends, showed up anyway. Lisa, the beautiful blonde next to Dasha, has been a friend of mine since our last tour here in Okinawa back in 1998-2002.

Girls just wanna have fun!!!! From left to right: Shannon Hawkins, Jennifer Sutton, ME, Lisa Edge, Melanie Bales and Jenny Connors. These girls are the best party companions!!!

Daniel and Gabriel were our youngest party guests and they create fun wherever they go!!! They thought hanging out on our stairs was a good idea. These are the stairs I scale several times a day and pray that Socks nor myself slip and hurt ourselves. They are pretty but they aren't practical with an older dog.

Are they stealing my birthday balloons or planning another surprise?????? Thanks for spending my 40th birthday with me!!!! I was truly blessed!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A sweet friend and a post to remember!

It's been a few weeks since I've posted and I do promise to post on my 40th surprise birthday party next but I couldn't resist sharing this sweet blog post from Lysa TerKeurst. Check out her post titled "Less Little" and get the tissues out.

After reading her post I made this comment:

I don't even have children and this one brought tears to my eyes and made me pause. I am thinking of all my friend's little girls who I have shared precious "less little" moments and I have captured a few permanently on my digital camera. It also reminded me of a sweet new friend God has brought into my life and how she is still all girl with her beliefs, dreams, eagerness, pink, sparkly, ribbon and polish. No fudgsicle smudges on her face but she loves to eat cheesecake with me whenever we can. This young women is teaching this 40 year old how to have fun again - I have the prettiest pink toes right now, I am working on the sparkle part as well and we watch movies in the middle of the afternoon just because we can!!!

Somewhere between the peach fuzz cheeks and my 40th birthday I left my dreams behind and grew up because I thought I had to!!! Now I'm craving a microphone and a princess outfit of my own. I know I will never be on American Idol, for several reasons, but I sure can karaoke with the best of them!!! Thanks for the reminder!!! Your blog has been such an encouragement to me!!!! God bless!

Here is a photo of my friend, Jenny!!! She has reminded that sassy is always in style and girls really do just wanna have fun!!!!! Check Jenny out in my weekly post on Okinawa Hai!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Turning Forty - It's Official!

It’s 12:16 a.m. on April 13th 2009 and I’m in bed typing away as I contemplate the beginning of a new decade!!! There is a part of me that loves birthdays - mine, and yours, and whoever’s. I love a reason to celebrate and eat anything chocolate. Of course, I’m willing to eat chocolate for no reason, too!!! It’s just hard to imagine that I’ve been alive for 40 years, married for over 15 and living overseas again. It’s hard to imagine what the next decade will hold but I’m going to embrace it!

Then there is a part of me that dreads this birthday. In honor of “Keepin’ It Real” I have to admit that I wouldn’t have planned turning forty on the island of Okinawa. I certainly did not want to welcome 40 with this hair, my unruly eyebrows, at this weight or with the warts on the tip of my nose. I know I’ve said this already this week but I feel compelled to repeat it since I’m officially 40 and this is my blog and I can say what I want!!

On the flip side – I am so blessed to have a wonderfully, thoughtful husband who did everything he could these past two weeks to distract me from the inevitable. Thanks, hubs – You’re my favorite!!! I’m also blessed to have been raised in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I know Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, I have a very loyal dog and friends who know how to have fun!! It doesn’t hurt that they love chocolate, too, and are excellent shoppers!!!

I didn’t get a chance to blog yesterday’s gift but I’ll give you a hint – it included a cake, some candles, balloons, friends, gifts and an elaborate scheme to surprise me in my own home!!! More later! I gotta get my beauty sleep - I’m forty now!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Turning Forty - Lost In Translation

Today’s note was very interesting. On the outside it read Saiainohito and the inside read:

Jojeux anniversaire
Alles gute zume Geburtstag
Dogum gunun kutlu olsun
Buon compleanno
Feliz aniversario

With today’s gift you would know that all these phrases mean Happy Birthday!!!

I opened the box and found a purse-size, language translator that even speaks to me! By the way, Saiainohito is Japanese for darling!!! I have been wanting one of these little language barrier-reducing items for a while now and obviously the hubs has been listening.

Today was another bonus day as I was treated to lunch at the Renaissance. Beautiful view of the water, lots of choices at the buffet and great company. Food, fun and fellowship – what more could a social bug ask for three days before her 40th?

Dolce, Myrna, Me and Paula cruising at the resort.

Brian is the hubs behind the camera!
My favorite army wives, plus one husband, helped me celebrate today while enjoying lunch at one of our beautiful resort hotels. I didn’t even think of taking a picture of the hotel – I was busy enjoying all the entertainment contained in it’s walls. Birds hanging out, newly married couples posing for pictures and my own fan club to cruise with. The lunch was fabulous and entertaining at the same time.

Paul and Myrna were so generous in giving me exactly what I would have asked for – two new Stampin’ Up stamp sets and a Starbuck’s gift card. More excuses to get together in the future – as if we needed them.

As I reflect on this day it made me think of how I would have missed out on these friendships if I hadn’t taken the first step and attended PWOC’s summer studies. I was tempted not to drive all the way from Courtney to Kadena only weeks after landing on the island. I was tired, overwhelmed and insecure. God is so great to lead us to the greatest treasures in our lives if we are willing to follow Him on this great “treasure” hunt we call life. From the minute I met Myrna, I knew I liked her and she introduced me to Paula and Dolce. We would have never met outside of PWOC because they are army wives and I am married to a Marine – our paths would not have crossed and I would never have had the pleasure of meeting these incredible women. And in the name of friendship, Paula and Myrna, wasted at least an hour of their lives helping me pick out the purse I was “given” a few days ago. I found something fun and not black – that was the criteria and my friends were up to the task!!! I'll post about the purse later!!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Turning Forty - Flowers Are Red

After meeting Bill, I was introduced to many musical artists that I had never heard of. One of them being Harry Chapin. Recently Bill has dusted off his “old” cds and is in a Harry Chapin mood. I even had three Harry Chapin songs on my blog until they somehow disappeared. One of our favorite songs of his is “Flowers Are Red” and that is the theme of today’s gift. Along with my flowers the note read:

“Flowers are red young man, Green leaves are green. There’s no need to see flowers any other way. Than the way they always have been seen. But the little boy said…There are so many colors in the rainbow. So many colors in the morning sun. So many colors in the flower and I see everyone.”

Today was triple gift day for me as my friends, Cheryl & Sarah, took me out to lunch. They picked me up and we headed north to Nago. The sign for this soba house is all in kanji so we refer to it as the “K” restaurant. It’s absolutely gorgeous and if you like Okinawa soba this will become your new favorite. I’m not an Okinawa soba fan but the salad, rice, papaya kimchi and cream puff were great. The view was priceless.

I could practically touch this plant from where we sat in the restaurant. We basically sat on the back porch of this restaurant that looked more like a farm home you would have seen in Okinawa many years ago.

After we ate lunch we walked around the property where all these beautiful, purple flowers were in full bloom!! Okinawa never ceases to surprise me with these wonderful treasures around every corner!! The property has several man-made waterfalls that are gorgeous and add to your eating experience.

Keepin' It Real

Challenge Alert: I found this blog challenge/game on a blog that I just recently started following. Daniella is a Marine spouse and I love how she writes and her blog is beautiful. Check out Daniella here.

This blog game is called "Keepin' It Real." Just like Daniella, I wanted to ignore the game at first but then I thought, why not? So here goes:

I hate this first picture but I had to include it if I were truly keepin' it real. I was cracking up at myself - what we will do for the purpose of blogging!!!

This is a great view of my not-so-new-do. I am in desperate need of a haircut and if you look really close you can see that wax has not seen my brows in forever!!!!! I can't believe I'm going to turn 40 looking like this!!! How is that for keepin' real!!!

So, for the purpose of realness, I have to admit this picture is one of the reasons I wasn't going to do this challenge. I have always disliked my nose but I have learned to live with it and be content with the face God gave me. But, over the past few years my nose has betrayed me. I am now the happy owner of one scar from a wart removal and two more warts on the end of my nose. I know there is a way to have them removed but I just haven't made the time to call to make an appointment. Which, for those of you married-to-the-military know - easier said than done. I am currently avoiding the pleasure of waiting on the phone for the sake of this blog! You can thank me later!!!

I actually took these pictures yesterday but my battery died so I couldn't down load them - then life happened and I moved on!!! When I woke up this morning I had a comment on my previous post from a stranger who found me from my comment on Daniella's blog and she wanted to see if I took the challenge, since I said I was going to do it. Ugh - I hadn't!!! Better late than never!!!

Most of the women who have played this game have taken pix of their living rooms. With children, I can see how this is the hub of chaos and a great place to take "real" pictures. I was feeling slightly guilty yesterday because my Mama-sans were here so you don't really get to see my house in it's "real" state. Then I remembered what my dining room table and laundry room looked like and you could see the "real" me in the midst of that chaos.
I love our dining room table. It's made out of teak - it's a real tree and it weighs a ton. I certainly will not be moving this treasure down our 48 steps in 2011. But, even the most beautiful table can look cluttered when covered in several projects, mail and my huge datebook!!

This is truly the embarassing part of the game. This is my laundry/bathroom. We live in Okinawa, for those of you just joining us, so we have an American washing machine, a Japanese dryer with a bathroom sink being hidden by that beautiful box to the left - conveniently located on top of a dining room chair that we have no other place for since buying the new teak set!! I especially love Bill's golf shirt drying comfortably on my exercise ball - which has not been used for it's intended purpose in a very long time. It does dry clothes well and in turn, assisting in saving the environment.

I had to take a close up of this mess so you can see the Kohl's bags on the left. These bags hold toys I bought, on super sale, Christmas of 2007, to be given to Toys For Tots in 2008. Unfortunately, as I am famous for, I kept forgetting to place these little treasures in one of many TFT boxes I passed throughtout Christmas 2008. Now they are an almost daily reminder of my procrastination!!!! Please do take note of the neatly folded towels on the book shelf - I do have potential!!!

Here are the rules:

Take a picture of yourself right now.

No primping or preparing.

Just snap one picture.

Load the picture onto your blog.

Tag some people to play. (I have know idea how to do this!)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Turning Forty - Pride & Prejudice

It’s really hard to come up with a great title for this blog when the movie title says it all!!! The hubs is on a roll my friends!!! The outside of today’s note is titled “My Favorite Fellow Movie Watcher” and it reads: “Five hours of viewing you will need to set aside. As a Marine I’ll watch it and swallow my pride. I have been told by many this movie you can’t miss. Colin Firth in the A & E version of Pride & Prejudice.”

I have wanted this version of P & P for over a year now and I can’t wait to watch it. We do own the Keira Knightley version, which is good if you only have 2 hrs. and 9 minutes to spare. But, if you are blessed with a rainy, overcast day than stay in your jammies, snuggle with your favorite movie buff, keep your favorite snacks in arms reach and prepare to be captivated by “one of the greatest love stories of all time.” Pride & Prejudice is “based on the beloved masterpiece by Jane Austen, and is the classic tale of love and misunderstanding that sparkles with romance, wit and emotional force.”

It’s really hard to do this move any justice so you just have to see it for yourself. For those of you who watch it every year or own it, than enough said, right?I love Bill’s timing as I just watched the Keira Knightley version with Jenny a couple of weekends ago and I was telling her I had to get the A & E version so we could waste away a cold and windy day watching this movie. I do have to take this opportunity to do a big SHOUT OUT to my friend, Lacey, brand new, proud grandmother, who first shared this gem of a movie with me. We watched the movie in two segments, which I do not recommend. The suspense will kill you, trust me!!! You can take a potty break, or any number of food related breaks but give yourself the day to watch it – you won’t regret it!!

Here is one of my favorite scenes in the movie:

Mr. Darcy: Miss Elizabeth. I have struggled in vain and I can bear it no longer. These past months have been a torment. I came to Rosings with the single object of seeing you... I had to see you. I have fought against my better judgment, my family's expectations, the inferiority of your birth by rank and circumstance. All these things I am willing to put aside and ask you to end my agony.

Elizabeth Bennet: I don't understand.

Mr Darcy: I love you.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Turning Forty - Message In A Bottle

This post could also read “Massage” in a bottle. Love Bug is written on the front of the note and it was rolled and stuffed into a bottle. Today’s note reads: “As you get older your bones start to squeak. Your body needs to be given a little tweak. Be at Karen’s at 16:30 and don’t be late. For if you are, there will be no date.”

Bill had scheduled us a couple’s massage at the Shanbio Spa across from the Sunabe Seawall. I met him at Karen’s, a friend who lives near the seawall. We walked to dinner at Gordi’s, our favorite burger joint, and then we walked to the spa, via the seawall.

I couldn’t resist bringing my camera to the seawall is covered in murals done by both locals and Americans.

We enjoyed our Aroma Body Massage in a room set up for two with a view of the East China Sea. It was 80 minutes of stress-reducing, quality time. It’s not every day you get to spend time with your hubs in total silence!!!

I’m sure mine enjoyed every, quiet moment!!

We sipped on our post-massage tea, took a candy and walked back to our cars - leaving the day's stress behind!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Turning Forty - Dinner and a Movie

Today’s gift was an easy one to figure out. My note read “For today’s gift we’ll do something groovy. It is simply dinner and a movie.” We ended up eating at Pizza Hut which reminded me of our first date – eating pizza and attending a high school football game. Tonight we had pasta since I’m lactose intolerant, gotta love getting old, and I loved me some bread sticks. Since we live in the land of little choices the only movie playing, that we wanted to see, was Valkyrie, with Tom Cruise. Not a feel-good-movie by any means but it’s not about what you see but who you see it with. As our pre-movie entertainment I got to watch a cockroach walk around me until I couldn’t stand it anymore. Then I called in the reinforcements, aka the movie staff, and they took care of said bug. All my humanitarian efforts went out the window as the staff person stomped on the bug and swept it away. Oh so romantic!!!! Just another day in paradise!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Turning Forty - How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You!

Today’s blog will be short and sweet with the pun very intentionally placed. My “treat” for today was cinnamon buns from Cinnabon – note the two extra cups of white deliciousness. I love the irony as this store opened late in our first tour on Okinawa and I could not wait to eat there. I’m not sure I had ever eaten at a Cinnabon before one came to Okinawa sometime between 1998 and 2002. I’m actually not going to enjoy today’s treat until tomorrow morning because today was bonus gift day at the House of Traquair. Over 15 years of marriage has afforded Bill the opportunity to learn that I am a people person and I love to eat out. Combine the two and he has one happy spouse in the house. The note read: Sticky buns for my honey buns. Love Ya, Bill

Bill woke me up at 7:45 a.m. this morning and told me that we were leaving at 8:45 a.m. This is earlier than we need to leave for church so I knew I was in for a “treat”. I was hoping that Mister Donut was our breakfast destination but the real surprise was who was waiting there for us when we arrived. Mister Donut is yummy but nothing makes our favorite donut, Angel Cream, taste better than enjoying it with the Sutton family. Jen, Stephen and their two boys love it there almost as much as we do so I was excited to see that they were a part of today’s gift. I already posted on here regarding eating at Mister Donut so I won’t bore you with the details. If I was really savvy I would know how to include a link to the post but I have not learned that yet!!!! Anyway, suffice to say that I enjoyed my morning donut and ice coffee with great friends and a wonderful spouse on the side. A great way to start Palm Sunday!!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Turning Forty - It's In The Bag

The gift of laughter is priceless and my husband is an expert in this area! Today’s gift will need a little explaining.

Since I have been home the past two days the hubs has had to be even more creative when leaving the day’s gift in the gift spot – a.k.a. our pub table. I was in my office typing away when dear old hubs came home from golf. He placed today’s gift in its allotted spot and went on his way. As I finally reached the kitchen area I was a little perplexed. As you can see, the bag reads Couch, Couch, Couch, etc. So I thought it was a message to go to the couch, though I had just passed our couch to get to the bag and didn’t see anything unusual. I went to the couch and saw nothing “gifty” so I went back to the Couch Bag – then it hit me. The hubs has an unusual habit of changing names, words, etc. This could be viewed as a form of nick naming things. So Couch, Couch, Couch represents Coach, Coach, Coach. Being that it’s attached to an environmentally friendly Trader Joes bag it’s suppose to look like a purse. Once I figured it out I thought I was going to pee my pants I laughed so hard. That would have been gift enough but I’m certainly not going to turn away a new purse. Inside is just a blown up grocery bag, not environmentally friendly, to give my Couch bag some body. Today’s note read:

One bag, two bag, three bag, four
So much stuff that we need one more
Red one, black one, green one, or blue
Which one to buy I haven’t a clue?
Gucci, Dior, Prada or Coach
A stylish look above reproach
Big one, small one, medium size too
Pick one yourself from me to you!

Now, lest all you ladies drool over such an extravagant gift, I will not be purchasing one of those name brands that are followed by an enormous price tag. We do carry those types of bags over here but I will be very content with an off-brand bag as long as it is super, stinkin' cute!!! Let the search begin!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Turning Forty - Bloom Where You Are Planted!

Day four brought a beautiful Orchid and a note that read:

I’m really getting use to this “receive a gift everyday” routine. It’s especially interesting since today is Bill’s birthday and I still get a gift. Bill’s gift – a day on the golf course and his choice of a new driver. Bill is hard to buy for so this is what we have resorted to!! He also gets to pick up dinner because he passes right by the restaurant on his way home. We will enjoy our favorite Thai food and watch “Amazing Race” and “Survivor”. Not much different from any other day in the House Of Traquair but that’s what he wants to do!!

I had to include this black and white picture of Bill and his brothers. Bill is the youngest in his family and this is the only baby picture we have of him.

Bill getting ready to enjoy his birthday dinner from our favorite Thai place - Somchai's. They even included a Happy Birthday note for Bill with our dessert.

I did think it would be interesting to see what happened this day in history. Here is what I found out:

Famous Birthdays:

Marlon Brando 1924 - Actor ("The Godfather", "Apocalypse Now")
David Hyde Pierce 1959 - Actor
Eddie Murphy 1961 - actor ("48 Hrs.", "Beverly Hills Cop", "Doctor Doolittle")

This Day In History:

1862 - Slavery was abolished in Washington, DC.
1882 - The American outlaw Jesse James was shot in the back and killed by Robert Ford for a $5,000 reward. There was later controversy over whether it was actually Jesse James that had been killed.
1953 - "TV Guide" was published for the first time.
This Day In Music History:

1955 - Fred Astaire appeared on television for the first time on "The Toast of the Town," with host, Ed Sullivan.
1956 - Elvis Presley performed on "The Milton Berle Show." The show was broadcast live from the aircraft carrier USS Hancock. Elvis played the songs "Heartbreak Hotel," "Money, Honey," and "Blue Suede Shoes."
1969 - Jim Morrison was arrested by the FBI for interstate flight, which stemmed from obscenity charges after a Miami concert.

Chart Toppers

1965 Stop! In the Name of Love - The Supremes
1973 Killing Me Softly with His Song - Roberta Flack
1981 Rapture - BlondieWoman; The Best of Times - Styx 1989 Eternal Flame - BanglesGirl; The Look - Roxette
This last picture is definately a chart topper in our family!
Bill's dad, more affectionately known as Pops, is the reason
my husband is celebrating a birthday today!!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Turning Forty - Dishing It Out!

Day Three of my two week celebration did not disappoint. It’s amazing what the hubs has come up with and I’m sure this one will be a fan favorite. Today’s note, with “Darling” written on it, read:

“A dirty dish in the sink causes you to fret. From now until you’re forty, there is no need to sweat. So dirty every dish, glass and knife, for Bill will wash them all, as a gift to his wife.”

Needless to say I turned to look in the sink and noticed a welcomed sight - not a single dish was left behind. I had to think a minute and then I did remember all the dishes I had left there earlier that morning - what a fun surprise!

Of course, I included pictures of all the clean dishes and our sink. Several of you had asked for pictures of our apartment so I guess I’ll share with you one day and one room at a time. I know it’s not exciting but it is my life for now!!!We do not have the luxury of having a dish washer though some apartments off-base do now. So I am the self-appointed dishwasher because I’m a little bit of a control freak in this area – wonder where I get that fun obsession from?

I have learned to live without a dishwasher but I’ve been surprised at how much I miss having a garbage disposal. I think it’s because the alternative is gross. As you can see in the picture we have a “net” that catches all the food and if you let it sit there very long than it starts to smell – need I say more!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Turning Forty - Conversation Piece

It’s day two of my two week celebration and the hubs has delivered again. Today’s note was larger and made me laugh as I read:

“Today’s gift for your fortieth celebration will come as we retire. All your fantasies will be filled with passion and desire. Blog it to your friends, in disbelief their heads will be shaking. For tonight you have an hour in bed with nothing but talking.”

I still laugh as I’m re-reading it and typing it. I fell in love with Bill’s sense of humor over 16 years ago and he still has the uncanny ability to make me laugh. It’s really funny since most nights Bill falls asleep before his head hits the pillow and has been known to fall asleep even while I’m praying. Is he tired or am I boring? To talk to me for an hour, at night, is a huge sacrifice and will go down in history as one of my favorite gifts ever. The hard part is that I’m absolutely exhausted tonight and I’m not sure I could stay engaged in an hour conversation myself. The irony is not lost on me, I assure you!!

I couldn’t resist including my christening picture that my mom had framed for me as an engagement gift many years ago. It’s one of my favorite baby pictures and I still have the dress that I am wearing. “We’ve come a long way, baby!”